The supergroup is still sound, says technician

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By Richie Taylor

THE end is not in sight. Reports that supergroup U2 could be thinking about taking a long break or packing it in entirely after their current world tour have been rubbished by their soundman Joe O'Herlihy.

Joe, who has been with them since late 1978, said the group is showing no signs of stopping.

"They firmly believe that they are only starting, that it's getting better and maturing all the time. I couldn't see myself at this stage doing anything else. I have a great sense of belonging with U2."

And when U2 are not touring, Joe manages to keep himself busy all the time. "You have to keep yourself abreast of new technology all the time. Everything is changing so quickly.

"We started building the new stage show -- The Claw -- in Toronto last January, and had been planning it out for a year before that. We set it all up and simulated a U2 performance. It's very intricate both in the audio aspect and the technical one.

"It's actually a monster in its own right -- but we can control it!" And Joe likens each U2 tour, usually every four years, to a military campaign. "It really is like a massive military operation ... there are actually three 'Claw' stages going around the world, each leap-frogging the next one."

But things still can, and occasionally do, go terribly wrong. There was the famous 'Lemon' incident several years ago when all four band members got trapped onstage inside their giant lemon pod.


"I suppose it's a bit like being in a circus. You pray everything goes right. We all felt like lemons after that incident. But it was only one night out of 126 on the tour."

Then there was a hiccup on the opening night of the 360 tour in Barcelona when an agitated Bono had to stop the song One, issue instructions to The Edge and Clayton, and count it back in. It was apparently due to severe problems with his earpiece.

After 31 years Joe remains close with U2. "I actually feel blessed and honoured to be working with them. I get up every day and really enjoy what I do. I've a great gra for the band. I still get on great with all of them.

"There's a unified feeling in the camp. It's one for all and all for one."

- Richie Taylor

© 2009

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This page contains a single entry by Rita published on July 28, 2009 3:52 AM.

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